Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.

The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.

In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.

Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.

Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 400 AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in Sweden
Historical period: Migration Period (Sweden)

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Julian Modro (7 months ago)
Worth visit at Öland’s southern side, nice and conserved fort. It offers game for the kids and until 16h a food truck is open outside.
Aron Cederholm (8 months ago)
A good visit in a typical reconstructed migration period castle, with reconstructed buildings from different eras, both migration period, late Iron Age and when it was used as a medieval fort. The kids especially loved the archery station. A smaller museum is erected in the center of the castle. Part of the ring wall is open, where the gate house stands. Staff are friendly and the entrance fee is cheap.
Press Genepy (9 months ago)
Not to be missed for lovers of ancient history. Seemingly an isolated spot in a barren landscape, but the young archaeologist who welcomed us to the site explained the history and reasoning so well, he made it come alive. Walking on the fort wall was fun, trying the swords and peeping into the old homesteads where swallows nest now. Good gift shop with quality wares.
Wojciech Kołodziejczyk (11 months ago)
The season has began, I was really lucky, because I could go in for free!! I am not sure what are actual prices, but since April this place is open again! There is a small caffe in the bulding next to the parking. From parking to this atractions is about 300/400 meters. It was really windy when I was here, take care about yourself!
Rasmus Nordgaard (11 months ago)
On Google it stated Eketorp was temporarily closed but I drove to it anyway just to have a look. To my surprise the gate was open. A rather weird feeling entering a tourist attraction without staff or other guests. All on my own I explored and "conquered" this impressive fort. If the gate were supposed to be closed I apologies for my lack of restraint. In any way I thank you for an unique experience
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kastelholma Castle

First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.

In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.

In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status.